What Is The Best Way To Clean A Cast Iron Skillet?

Cast iron skillet
Updated on 26 Jul 2023
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A cast iron skillet is the perfect addition to any kitchen. It is durable and long-lasting, adding a whole new taste sensation because the non-stick coating of the pan is 100% natural with an enameled pan.

If you want it to last and keep everything intact, maintenance is absolutely crucial. Want to know the very best way to clean that cast iron pan? I’ll go over that with you today!

First, think about what type of pan you have

Before I start talking about how best to clean that cast iron pan, it’s important to share that there are two types of pans.

  1. Enameled pans:

In this pan, there is a small layer of molten glass applied to the pan, or enamel. This serves as a non-stick coating and this prevents rust in the pan. This feature then makes it a little easier to maintain.

  1. Non-enameled pans:

Then there is also a non-enameled pan. The non-enameled pan obviously does not have a layer of enamel. The idea is to create a natural non-stick coating. This is what I was talking about at the beginning. This layer is created by burning in and regular use. During the cleaning process, this layer is very fragile. Maintenance is therefore not more difficult and in itself it is not bad. It just requires a little more work and attention.

Cleaning the enamel pan

Cleaning an enameled cast iron skillet is not a lot of work.

  1. Use a soft sponge or brush after use. 
  2. While rinsing, use warm water with a little detergent.
  3. Did you clean the pan well? Then you can wash it again using only water. 
  4. Dry it well before putting it back in the cupboard. Otherwise rust can develop. And that affects the lifespan in a negative way and of course it is also not good for the quality of your food.

So the enamel pan is not too difficult to clean. It just requires that you do all the simple steps with policy and care. As long as you do that, you won’t suffer from anything and cleaning a cast iron skillet is a piece of cake.

In principle, the enamel pan should be dishwasher safe, but I still strongly advise against it. This can cause scratches and this, in turn, can shorten its lifespan. In short, just wash it by hand for a while.

Cleaning the non-enameled pan

A cast iron pan without enamel requires just a little more maintenance. In itself, it is still fairly low-maintenance. I mean, cleaning a pan without enamel is absolutely no higher math, the only point is that it requires a little more work and attention. But then again, there are positives to this. A natural non-stick coating does a lot of good for the taste of your food!

  1. Clean the pan immediately. Don’t leave it soaked in the sink all evening or overnight. That will increase the chances of rust. That’s not the idea. Then it will last a lot less long and, as with a pan with enamel, it does not promote the quality of the food at all. With a pan without enamel, the risk of rust is only a lot higher if you are not careful. So be particularly mindful of this.
  1. Wash the pan by hand by using a brush or soft sponge. Use hot water. If cold water is used for a hot pan then the pan can be damaged or even warped.

For non-enamel pans, NEVER put them in the dishwasher and absolutely do not use aggressive detergents. These can damage the non-stick coating. This means that you will eventually have to reset the non-stick coating, and that is not the intention.

  1. Once the pan has been rinsed you can dry it with a tea towel. You may want to put the pan in the oven for a few more minutes at a low temperature. Then the last of the moisture can dry really well. This is a handy tip, since I have never had problems with residual moisture in my cast iron casserole.
  1. When the pan is completely dry then it is important that you start greasing it with vegetable oil. This should cover all parts of your pan. So if you have a cast iron handle then it is also important that it is well covered. If you want to spread the oil well then you can use kitchen paper to do this. This is a convenient solution because adding too much oil does not have a good effect.
  1. Store the cast iron skillet back in a dry place. Make sure the pan is actually dry. Even the slightest bit of moisture or residual oil can cause rust and damage the natural non-stick coating.

Stubborn dirt

Finally, the bonus tip for stubborn dirt. A nightmare for many. A simple but effective tip I can give you is to use coarse sea salt combined with a damp cloth, works perfectly!

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